Monday, May 21, 2012

Stayin' Power

With the passing of Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees last weekend, I thought about the group and their impact on music -- and me.

I must admit that I wasn’t a big fan of the Bee Gees when they burst on to the music scene back in the 1960s. I purchased “Spicks and Specks” in the mid-‘60s and thought it was a bunch of fluff.

A year or so later they released “Bee Gees’ 1st,” which contained the hits “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” “Holiday,” and “To Love Somebody.” Their sound just didn’t appeal to me with the high-pitched harmonies and an unusual phrasing of lyrics in a few songs. I was more into groups like The Beatles, The Doors, The Moody Blues, The Rolling Stones, Buffalo Springfield, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Yardbirds, and various blues artists.

The Bee Gees produced a few more hits including “Massachusetts,” “Words,” “I’ve Got to Get a Message to You,” and “I Started a Joke.” I still wasn’t impressed. Too soft for my tastes. I was getting into heavy metal.

When my sister Sheri bought their “Trafalger” album back in 1971, I recall telling her that group’s days were numbered even though they scored more hits with “Lonely Days,” and “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.”

And then came disco, and the Bee Gees were back, bigger than ever this time, with songs such as “Stayin’ Alive,” “You Should Be Dancing,” “Jive Talkin’,” and more. You guessed it. I wasn’t much of a disco or dance fan  so I kind of tuned them out. But I have to say they were catchy tunes that even a non-dancer like me could tap his toes to. And still do.

I rediscovered the Bee Gees in the late ‘80s with a song titled “One,” and later, in the early 2000s, with the minor hit “Man in the Middle.” I thought their music had grown and matured and I liked it -- a lot.

A few years ago I rented the DVD “One Night Only,” and I was blown away by their performance.
Another thing about the Bee Gees that impressed me was their songwriting ability that resulted in songs for other performers such as Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton (“Islands in the Stream”), Barbara Streisand (“Guilty”), Dionne Warwick (“Heartbreaker”), Frankie Valli (“Grease”), Samantha Sang (“Emotion”), and Yvonne Elliman (“If I Can’t Have You”). And there are more hits.
The group I didn’t think had staying power more than 40 years ago is now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1997), sold more than 200 million albums, and winners of numerous music awards.

The Brothers Gibb -- Barry, Robin and Maurice (who died in 2003) -- are true rock ‘n’ legends and their music will live on for many years.
Until the next time...

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